Glasgow: The Real Mean City

Glasgow: The Real Mean City

Glasgow: The Real Mean City: True Crime and Punishment in the Second City of Empire by Malcolm Archibald
2013 | EPUB | 3.48MB

There cannot be many cities where crime could mean anything from stealing a ship to singing a seditious song, but nineteenth century Glasgow was a unique place with an amazing dynamism. Immigrants poured in from Ireland and the Highlands while the factories, shipyards and mills buzzed with innovation. However, underneath the bustle was a different world as an incredibly diverse criminal class worked for their own profit with total disregard for the law. Robbers infested the highways and byways, a glut of garrotters gathered to jump on the unwary; drunken brawls disfigured the evening streets, prostitutes lured foolish men into dark corners, conmen connived clever schemes and perfidious poisoners plotted.

There were dark and dangerous places such as the Tontine Close and always the possibility of a major riot - with religion the excuse - as a volatile population became angry at unjust poverty and poor housing. It was perhaps not surprising that Glasgow formed Britain's first professional police force and men such as Superintendent James Smart fought to stem the crime that at times seemed to overwhelm the city. The forces of law had to be mobile, with the robbery of the Paisley Bank involving a coach chase as far as London, while the robbery of Walter Baird's shop in the Argyll Arcade took Acting Superintendent George McKay over the sea to Belfast. The police had an often thankless task and "The Real Mean City" chronicles the century long struggle of the forces of law and order to bring peace to a troubled city.

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House by Kate Summerscale
2009 | EPUB | 3.81MB

In June of 1860 three-year-old Saville Kent was found at the bottom of an outdoor privy with his throat slit. T he crime horrified all England and led to a national obsession with detection, ironically destroying, in the process, the career of perhaps the greatest detective in the land. Inspector Jonathan Whicher’s real legacy, however, lives on in fiction: the tough, quirky, all-knowing and all-seeing detective that we know and love today…from the cryptic Sgt. Cuff in Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone to Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher reads like the best of Victorian thrillers, and has been nominated for the Samuel Johnson Prize in London.

Marching Powder

Marching Powder

Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America's Strangest Jail by Rusty Young, Thomas McFadden
2004 | EPUB | 500.22KB

Rusty Young was backpacking in South America when he heard about Thomas McFadden, a convicted English drug trafficker who ran tours inside Bolivia's notorious San Pedro prison. Intrigued, the young Australian journalisted went to La Paz and joined one of Thomas's illegal tours. They formed an instant friendship and then became partners in an attempt to record Thomas's experiences in the jail. Rusty bribed the guards to allow him to stay and for the next three months he lived inside the prison, sharing a cell with Thomas and recording one of the strangest and most compelling prison stories of all time. The result is Marching Powder.

This book establishes that San Pedro is not your average prison. Inmates are expected to buy their cells from real estate agents. Others run shops and restaurants. Women and children live with imprisoned family members. It is a place where corrupt politicians and drug lords live in luxury apartments, while the poorest prisoners are subjected to squalor and deprivation. Violence is a constant threat, and sections of San Pedro that echo with the sound of children by day house some of Bolivia's busiest cocaine laboratories by night. In San Pedro, cocaine--"Bolivian marching powder"--makes life bearable. Even the prison cat is addicted.

Yet Marching Powder is also the tale of friendship, a place where horror is countered by humor and cruelty and compassion can inhabit the same cell. This is cutting-edge travel-writing and a fascinating account of infiltration into the South American drug culture.

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